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NEW DELHI : New COVID-19 mutants can reach anywhere at any time, said the Central government on Tuesday, adding that it is monitoring Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Delta Plus variants.

Addressing media on the COVID-19 situation, National Centre for Disease Control Director Dr SK Singh said, "The variants of concern that we monitor are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Delta Plus. There are two variants under investigation - Kappa and B1617.3."

"We were doing two kinds of surveillance - to monitor variants of concern (coming from outside) and to monitor the impact of the Delta variant in the country. Today, we need to look for new mutants because they can reach anywhere any time," he added.

He further explained that the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a strategy that the sentinel sites need to be identified and representative samples from every district of every state be subjected to genome sequencing.

"WHO came out with a strategy that the sentinel sites need to be identified and representative samples from every district of every state be subjected to genome sequencing. It should be tested if there is any mutant that will cause a public impact in the time to come," said Singh.

"Sentinel sites were affixed across the country and all states were asked to identify a minimum of 5 labs and 5 tertiary care hospitals and see if the sentinel sites represented samples of a representative district. Around 277 sentinel sites have been identified while 8,000 samples have been sent in July," he added.

Further speaking about Kerala's Covid situation, Singh said, "Central Team was sent to Kerala. First, to see how the 'test-track-treat' strategy is being implemented, second, surveillance of containment zones with contact tracing being an important factor, the third infrastructure of hospitals and fourth progress of vaccination."

"The caseload and positivity trend was found to be more than 10. Some districts indicated an increasing trend of positivity rate - Malappuram, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta. 80% of cases were found to be positive for Delta variant, like other states," he added.

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